Oustanding Academic Title
The retinal image in the eye is two-dimensional, like a photograph or painting, yet the actual visual world is three-dimensional. How the mind constructs this solid, three-dimensional visual world has been a central issue in visual science since the early 17th century, and many theories have been advanced in an attempt to understand this seeming paradox. A respected, prolific researcher in visual perception, Pizlo (psychological sciences and electrical and computer engineering, Purdue Univ.) reviews the history of this aspect of visual perception. Carefully analyzing tests of different theories and describing their strengths and weaknesses, he writes with one eye aimed toward understanding how the human visual system works and the other aimed toward developing algorithms for machine vision. He argues that three-dimensional shape perception is fundamental and not derived from other aspects of perception, such as depth cues or surface orientations, and he describes recent research (some carried out while this book was in preparation) lending support to this view. Pizlo's writing style is clear and engaging, and his illustrations are relevant and helpful. Highly technical material is presented in extensive appendixes. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.
Turbide's book was not intended to be highly technical; it was apparently aimed at introducing the many aspects of the manufacturing enterprises and providing some insight as to how the various pieces can fit together when implementing computer integrated manufacturing (CIM). The technology involved in systems integration and the kind of information that each functional area uses and maintains are explained in a simple but elegant manner. A glossary of the technical terms and a good index are provided at the end; however, the absence of a good bibliography leaves something to be desired. The book is, therefore, not recommended for engineering students, but rather for general and nontechnical readers. Although it will not make them experts on CIM, they should be better able to discuss CIM with technical people in all areas of the manufacturing enterprise.
Design consultant Norman raises a unique question: how can one best communicate with machines and vice versa? His argument that utility depends on communication is supported by a steady flow of examples organized in seven chapters. The first chapter diagnoses the dangers of human-machine miscommunication; chapter 2 accounts for the incompatibility between human and machine, and chapter 3 reveals "natural signs" as a possible method of translation. The fourth chapter emphatically restates the risk of communication failure. Chapter 5 defends the need for automation, despite difficulties in communication and maintenance, through a comparison of intelligent automation versus intelligent augmentation. In the final chapters the author offers a six-point prescription for a healthy human-machine relationship, followed by an account of the implications of his diagnosis and prescription for design disciplines. Whether or not one agrees with his prescription or diagnosis, the imperative of communication as a design consideration becomes palpable. Indeed, Norman reminds readers that the complex nature of humanity is implicit in the evolving nature of the machine. As such, the book will be very useful for all levels of design students and professionals. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through graduate students; professionals/practitioners.
The resurgence of design books continues to gain momentum, with exciting offerings on historic periods, styles, individual designers and design firms, and single-volume dictionaries and encyclopedias such as this appealing new work. Bayley (design consultant, author) and Conran (designer, architect, author) present a personal and somewhat idiosyncratic reference book that dispenses with introductory details about purpose, scope, audience, selection criteria, etc., and opens instead with short essays on the development of design, mass consumption, crafts, industrial design, consumer psychology, and design since the 1980s. A final essay on national design characteristics ends the book. A-Z illustrated entries (p. 83-323) favor late-19th- and 20th-century modernism, with an emphasis on furniture and Italian disegno cars.
Entries consist of a paragraph or two supplemented by large photos. Refreshingly, the authors do not hesitate to reveal likes and dislikes. For examples, Pierre Cardin "can infuriate or bore ... the fastidious shudder with embarrassment"; Herman Miller's Aeron chair "is also very attractive to dust and dirt"; of Issigonis's original Mini Morris, they say "nothing so small had ever before been so commodious." This is a solid purchase, especially for its reasonable price and international scope. Other dictionaries to consider include Mel Byars's The Design Encyclopedia (CH, Jan'05, 42-2538), Jonathan Woodham's A Dictionary of Modern Design (CH, Jun'05, 42-5605), Guy Julier's The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Design since 1900 (2nd ed., 2005), Michael Erlhoff's Design Dictionary (2007), and Ben Bos and Elly Bos's edited AGI: Graphic Design since 1950 (2007). Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduates, practitioners, and general readers.
Technical industries generate vast quantities of documentation each year. Given the unique and specific vocabularies used in various technical fields, much of this documentation is incomprehensible or indecipherable for some intended readers. Engineers Holloway and Nwaoha have compiled a handy desk reference to help lay readers translate and understand these materials. This volume will not suffice as the lone dictionary in academic libraries with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) collections. However, it is a handy supplement to these collections, especially with the continued growth of interdisciplinary research that increasingly includes scholars from nontechnical fields. This dictionary features over 10,000 terms, acronyms, abbreviations, and common phrases arranged in standard alphabetical order. Each entry concludes with a "category tag" that describes the field or context in which the term-definition combination applies. These tags are especially helpful with disambiguating terms that have different meanings and uses in different industrial sectors (e.g., "Piles," "Polymer," "Quality"). Use of the dictionary is quite simple and straightforward. Cross-referenced terms found in definitions are identified by italic script, as are the category tags. Not all categories are defined. Though far from comprehensive, this book makes a good start at capturing the rich language used in industry. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates, two-year technical program students, general readers, and practitioners.
Murphy (Texas A&M), a pioneer in focusing academic robotics research on improving human-machine interactions and meeting technical constraints, is well qualified to write this excellent book. She introduces the subject by defining some terminology regarding disaster robots. She also discusses the taxonomy created based on land, air, and sea unmanned systems, including top-level constraints, concerns, and issues for each. A summary of robots applied to disasters both natural and human-made (terrorists, infrastructure failures, etc.) follows. The author devotes much space to addressing what can and has gone wrong. Each of the technical areas is then explored in greater detail. Topics such as engineering constraints, human-operator interfaces, and interaction with a complex rescue team are discussed within the context of the respective system. Murphy concludes by discussing how to conduct fieldwork in this area, including what types of fieldwork exist, how to interact with response teams, and what data to collect. This highly practical, scholarly work is useful for graduate students and academics interested in working with first responders and is a must for any literature survey on the topic. It could also be used in a special topics course in disaster/emergency response robotics or in a capstone design program. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals/practitioners.
Tribology is the science of friction, wear, and lubrication of surfaces in relative motion. This tome is intended to provide a more interdisciplinary and comprehensive approach to tribology than the numerous other books on this subject; it may also be considered more of an encyclopedia than a text. The authors, Stachowiak (Curtin Univ., Western Australia) and Batchelor (Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia), have extensive experience teaching this subject. This updated fourth edition (3rd ed., 2005; 2nd ed., 2000; 1st ed., 1993), like its predecessor, is divided into 17 chapters. An introductory chapter is followed by six chapters of mostly quantitative theory, including lubricant properties; hydrodynamic, hydrostatic, and elastohydrodynamic lubrication; and computational hydrodynamics. The remaining ten chapters are largely qualitative descriptions of various aspects of lubrication and wear, including surface treatments, abrasive erosion, corrosion, fatigue, etc., with numerous figures and illustrations. Each chapter is followed by an extensive list of references, as well as a list of "Revision Questions" for the benefit of both students and instructors. A nine-part appendix contains programs for use with MATLAB for calculating lubricant properties, film thickness, bearing deflection, etc. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty; practicing engineers.
Thackara exhorts designers to create simpler, lighter, and more efficient systems for living. Like Buckminster Fuller and Victor Papanek of the 1960s and 1970s, Thackara paints an image of a world with limited resources and a society using them at a rate that cannot be sustained. Unlike Fuller and Papanek, Thackara does not show examples of good design. In fact, the author's photo on the dust jacket is the book's only picture. The book includes extensive endnotes, more than 50 pages' worth, as well as an extensive bibliography. Throughout, Thackara raises more questions than he answers. However, in the final chapter he proposes seven transitions for design. These proposals emphasize thinking of design as a system for constantly improving the services a company provides, as opposed to a means to create beautiful objects to be consumed. Thackara takes on more than design in this work. He addresses society as a whole and asks the reader to think of the big picture. He addresses problems in health care, education, transportation, manufacturing, and life quality in both industrialized and Third World societies. Thackara encourages all designers to think of the big picture instead of just tomorrow's deadline. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through professionals.
Industrial Design A-Z is a handy but hefty (three-pound) encyclopedia with a user-friendly but durable cover. The dimensions of the book--eight by six by two inches--make it easy to handle and seek out anything anyone ever wanted to know about industrial design. Both color and black-and-white photographs are generously used to complement the brief but informative essays. Charlotte Fiell and Peter Fiell have done a superb and thorough job covering the subject. There are four basic sections; the largest treats designers and firms in an A-Z arrangement that spans some 500 pages and covers such topics as AEG (Allegemeine Electricitas Gesellshaft) to Zeppelin. The next deals with themes and materials, again alphabetical, and includes information on "design for disability" and 20th-century materials such as chromium. Case studies form the third section, which traces the evolutionary development of nine products such as the bicycle, the microscope, and the typewriter. The final section is a time line that traces the 300-year history of industry and industrial design beginning in 1700. Modest but selective bibliography. The teaching of design history courses will be made more efficient now that this volume is available at such a reasonable price. Undergraduates through professionals; two-year technical program students.
Sheathed in a silver and red cover with a silver-edged text block, this French publication's machine aesthetic speaks volumes about its subject: the history of industrial design narrated through the use of innovative techniques and materials. The four sections, each ingeniously illustrated with archival photographs and authored by a different industrial design specialist, comprise discussion of industrial design history, natural and synthetic materials, "digital material," and the greening of design. By foregrounding the materials used to create such objects as chairs, radios, and tables, rather than simply identifying their styles, the book presents a history running parallel to most design history works. Sections devoted to natural materials, minerals, and plastics provide useful information about the how the material came to be used in design and the names of designers who used them effectively, reversing the customary hierarchy that places designers at the top of the production pyramid. This method also serves an environmental purpose; focusing on materials makes readers aware of the consequences of consuming natural resources and adding industrial pollutants to the atmosphere. The role of the designer who manipulates materials, then, becomes crucial to the survival of the planet. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through faculty.
Bernard, editor of Süddeutsche Zeitung, the largest daily newspaper in Germany, has prepared a unique study of how humans responded to passenger elevators in the US and Germany from about 1870 to 1930. In particular, he argues that the widespread adoption of elevators upset people's expectations of the looks of buildings and how they were experienced. He explores how enclosing elevators in shafts led to changes in the layout of building stories and how the vertical hierarchy of structures were reversed, making higher floors more prestigious. He also analyzes the psychology of operating push buttons. Bernard then returns to building interiors to chart transformations in the status of stairwells and diseases and disorders associated with riding elevators. Throughout, he weaves in references to elevators from novels, film, and advertising. He treats the elevator as an individual technological and cultural phenomenon, whereas previously the innovation has been mainly a supporting character in histories of technology and architecture. One of the few other book-length histories of the elevator, Lee Gray's From Ascending Rooms to Express Elevators (2002), focuses on technical and marketing aspects and covers only American developments. Dollenmayer's translation is smooth and easy to follow. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers.
Outstanding Academic Title
Ullman provides a modern overview of the mechanical design process that includes discussions on human factors, Taguchi's philosophy, quality function deployment, Pugh Selection, design for assembly, and concurrent design. In two sections (Background Topics and Techniques for the Mechanical Design Process), with three appendixes, including an especially useful one where the top 25 materials used in mechanical devices are identified along with pertinent material property data. The book is very readable and the material is presented at a level accessible to a wide range of reader interests and backgrounds. It provides a more current perspective on design theory and methodology than any of the following books. Ullman's treatment is less mathematical than in J. N. Siddall's Analytical Decision-making in Engineering Design (CH, Mar'73), or J. R. Dixon's Design Engineering: Inventiveness, Analysis, and Decision Making (1966), or B. Ostrofsky's Design, Planning, and Development Methodology (CH, Mar'77). It is written at a higher level than P. H. Hill's The Science of Engineering Design (1970). It is more complete than M. Asimow's Intoduction to Design (1962). All in all, unique in its particular organization and perspective; an excellent addition for collections serving students in virtually any engineering discipline. Highly recommended.
Outstanding Academic Title
This simply titled work is a result of carefully delivered lectures by Bajd and colleagues at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, for multiple classes of undergraduate engineering students over more than a decade. This exemplary course resource can serve as a basis for the study of robotics. Pedagogically well structured, it covers the fundamentals of industrial robotics, including the ways robots sense and operate, while assuming a basic knowledge of calculus and physics. Organized in nine chapters spanning a little over 100 pages, this book is a concise, readable reference source for those getting their feet wet in the field. Unlike other textbooks, this work includes a chapter on safety standards as well as a glossary of robotics-related terms with translations in French and in German. Perhaps the only gaps are a chapter that would address future directions for industrial robotics and references in the further reading section that would allude to the fact that the world of robotics transcends industrial hangars. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates, two-year technical program students, and general readers.
Petroski (civil engineering; history, Duke Univ.) discusses the nature of design and examines function, usability, and aesthetics. He emphasizes functionality with little attention to aesthetics. He proposes that no design can be perfect, but that all designers should attempt to get as close to perfection as physical constraints allow. He writes in a personal and anecdotal style, offering both his own experiences and historical analogies. The historical analogies include many everyday objects that most people take for granted. Petroski tells the story of how these objects were first designed or improved. The list of products discussed is extensive, including such objects as the paper cup, the light bulb, cup holders in cars, paper bags, duct tape, the faucet, and the toothbrush. The book contains only a few small black-and-white illustrations but does include an extensive bibliography and endnotes. This book will be appreciated by engineers and those interested in the history of technology. The personal and easy reading style makes the book appropriate for general readers, but the vocabulary is definitely at the college level. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower- and upper-division undergraduates; professionals; two-year technical program students.
Outstanding Academic Title
This massive volume, edited by Grote (Otto-von-Gueriche Univ. Magdeburg, Germany) and Antonsson (Caltech), and including 92 contributors, is the most up-to-date and most representative of the state-of-the-art in many broad areas encompassed by the field of mechanical engineering. The book contains three parts, "Fundamentals," "Applications," and "Complementary Material." The second part, the largest section, contains useful chapters including "Construction Machinery," "Transport Systems," "Piston Machines," and "Materials Science." "Manufacturing Engineering," more than 200 pages long and authored by 30 contributors, is a good survey of manufacturing written at a level accessible to engineering undergraduates. The equally lengthy chapter "Design of Machine Elements," by Oleg Lelikov, is well done, but it reflects the Russian approach to the field, which differs from the content of machine design courses taught in American universities. Unfortunately, there are only about a dozen pages covering heat transfer, a large, fundamental area of mechanical engineering research and practice. This is a serious deficiency in such a large work, whose objective is to cover the field. The usefulness of this handbook is hampered by its skimpy index; however, it has many attributes that make it an important addition to the reference shelf of any library serving a mechanical engineering department. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections.
Engineering design is a key driving force supporting our technological civilization, but many students have little idea of how the design process takes place. Over the past 20 years, engineering and history professor Petroski has addressed this problem in a variety of ways, examining in nontechnical language the thought processes by which engineers approach design problems and how those processes are revealed in specific products. His books mesh well with those of others, including Louis Bucciarelli, Samuel Florman, Billy Koen, and Walter Vincenti, who address the same question from different perspectives. Petroski employs all new material to expand his argument from To Engineer Is Human (1985), examining the crucial role of failure in driving innovation in the evolution of a variety of technological products. Examples range from relating prehistoric cave paintings to PowerPoint presentation software, to the 10,000-year evolution of bridges. Here, Petroski is more focused than in 1985, seeing the emergence of overconfidence from our recent success increasing the chances of future catastrophic failures. Probably not his best book (see his Invention by Design, 1996), but highly recommended to all students seeking to understand how new technologies are conceived. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower- and upper-division undergraduates; faculty; professionals.
Oustanding Academic Title
This review is written at the risk of being superfluous: one can find praise for Taguchi's Quality Engineering Handbook right at the beginning of the book, where several well-known authorities express their opinions--in fact, admiration. This reviewer totally concurs. It remains to praise and congratulate the authors and the publisher for their part in bringing out this great volume of more than 1,600 pages. This handbook will be a great resource in the area of quality engineering. It is in two sections, "Theory" and "Application (Case Studies)." The first section includes Taguchi's latest thinking, a history of quality engineering, quality loss function, signal-to-noise ratio, robust engineering, Mahalonobis-Taguchi System (MTS), software testing and application, on-line quality engineering, experimental regression, and design of experiments. Section 2 contains nearly 100 case studies from various parts of manufacturing. This reviewer wishes he had had this book while writing a book on experimental research. Anyone and everyone involved with manufacturing should read selected parts of this book; they will be wiser for doing so and they will have more confidence in facing problems that are and always will be in manufacturing. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals.